If you're a fan of Mexican cooking, there are a few ingredients you should always have on hand. We'll show you how to stock the perfect Mexican pantry so you never need to make a last-minute trip to the store again.

By Andrea Beck
March 25, 2017
mexican produce

Having produce on hand will ensure that your cooking always has a burst of freshness. Since some of these ingredients will expire quickly (like avocados), just buy what you'll need, or store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

  • Avocados
  • Fresh and dried chile peppers
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh tomatoes and tomatillos
  • Limes and oranges
  • Mangoes and papayas
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Raisins and dried apricots
  • Sweet peppers

Canned Goods

Mexican Canned Goods

Since it will take a long time for these ingredients to expire, it's easy to just keep a can of each in your pantry. And if you don't use the entire can, you can store some ingredients—like sweetened condensed milk—in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

  • Canned milk (sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and unsweetened coconut milk)
  • Chicken broth
  • Diced green chile peppers
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Enchilada sauce
  • Hominy
  • Pinto and black beans
  • Refried beans
  • Salsa
  • Tomatillos


Mexican Spices

Spices are some of the most important ingredients in Mexican cuisine. Keep these different spices on hand in your pantry to ensure that your cooking is always flavorful and never bland.

  • Anise seeds
  • Chili powder
  • Crushed red pepper and cayenne
  • Cumin (seeds and ground)
  • Garlic
  • Ground allspice
  • Ground ancho chile pepper
  • Ground coriander
  • Ground Mexican cinnamon
  • Mexican oregano

Condiments, Flavorings, and Sweeteners

Mexican Condiments

These ingredients will help add flavor to both main dishes and baked goods. You can keep most of them in your pantry, but it's best to keep some—like salsa and picante sauce—in your fridge after opening.

  • Agave syrup and honey
  • Almond and anise extracts
  • Corn syrup
  • Hot pepper sauce
  • Instant espresso coffee powder
  • Mexican vanilla
  • Olives
  • Salsa and picante sauce
  • Vinegars

Seeds, Nuts, and Chocolate

Seeds, Nuts, and Chocolate

You definitely want to keep these ingredients on hand: They can be used in a variety of different recipes, from breakfast to dessert.

  • Bittersweet chocolate pieces
  • Mexican-style sweet chocolate
  • Nuts (assorted)
  • Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • Slivered almonds
  • Unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Other Items

Tortillas and Chips

These other items are great to have on hand, either as a vital part of your Mexican pantry or to accompany Mexican meals. Store most of them in your pantry or fridge—but if you want to make your tortillas last longer, stack them between two layers of waxed paper and store in a freezer bag. Both homemade and purchased tortillas can be frozen for up to a month.

  • Corn and flour tortillas
  • Cornhusks (for tamales)
  • Masa harina
  • Mexican cheeses (such as queso blanco)
  • Rice
  • Mexican beer
  • Sour cream
  • Tequila
  • Tortilla chips
  • Tostada shells

Put Your Mexican Pantry to Work

Burrito Bowls

Use the ingredients you have on hand in your Mexican pantry to try out some of our favorite Mexican recipes:


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